Dr Seuss estate has crushed a kickstarter for a Seuss/Trek mashup

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/28/dr-seuss-estate-has-crushed-a.html


No C&D from the Roddenberry estate? You’re slipping, guys!


What a bunch of grinches.


Just looking at that one illustration It would be a true shame if this work weren’t allowed to come to fruition. It would be particularly heinous of the Seuss Estate to complain about brand dilution or other brand damage given the cheap-ass, mass-produced, shitty knockoff stuff they themselves actually do approve / produce* in droves to keep the money pouring in.

It’s great that White is stepping in, but what we need are lawyers to write up ironclad wills and instructions to the estates of mad geniuses like Seuss before they die. They probably, in many cases, would want works inspired by theirs to flourish. For all I know, though, Seuss was an copyright nutcase too, but even it that case, it would somehow be less smarmy coming straight from the genius themselves.

*I’m looking at you "Dr. Seuss’ Happy Birthday, Baby! "


And yet THIS was ok with everyone in the Seuss Estate?


How is this any different than a parody sketch on the Muppets or Sesame Street? Seems like Seuss has no case.


It differed significantly from the approved script (early on the cat was going to be played by Tim Allen, and certainly didn’t feature the ad libbed adult humor from Michael Meyers), and is the reason his wife declared no future live-action films would be made (source).

I liked the live-action Grinch when I saw it, although I’m a bit biased since it had Bill Irwin in it.


They probably got some hefty license fees for it though.

Mean ones.

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After the troubles he had failing to bring his vision of The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T to the big screen, Seuss swore off of film, preferring to only allow his work to be adapted for television, where he could maintain greater creative control.


I just hope the estate has the good sense to keep “The 500 ‘Make America Great Again’ Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins’” from being made. (Log line: Bart Cubbins ® Indiana, tries to shake off the Trump stink that is dragging down his congressional bid…)


It’s almost always the non-productive heirs who act like this with any literary property. People who had no more to do with the original but who by God will eke every last ha’penny out of it.

Look at the Conan Doyle estate or the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate for true multi-generational money grabs of the highest order for things that should well and truly be in the public domain but which are litigated over by third or even fourth generation descendants.

I’m a nasty, evil capitalist and even I think this goes beyond ridiculous.


Who all should have known better.

As Ken White points out:

It has good and bad aspects. The good: its protection for criticism, comment, satire, and parody is quite broad.
The bad: its key elements are subjective and lack bright lines. That means it is rarely possible to use the Fair Use defense to get out of litigation early; usually you’ve got to litigate all the way to summary judgment or even trial.

Any creative professional who doesnt get this basic aspect of the fair use doctrine probably shouldnt be engaging in this type of work to begin with. Fair use isnt a blanket escape clause.

The Joyce Estate also has been belligerent.

Am I the only one who thinks that you shouldn’t be able to make money when you’re dead?


I would be in favour of a copyright that expires (whichever comes last):

  • Twenty-five years after the work was created
  • Ten years after the author’s death
  • When the author’s youngest dependent reaches the age of majority (with a caveat that this maxes out at 18 years, nine months after the author’s death, to prevent in vitro shenanigans).

This should provide enough revenue to the author, to the author’s spouse, and the author’s dependents, provides incentive for people to keep writing, but doesn’t allow Mickey Mouse to be under copyright ninety years after his creation.


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